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So, its been forever, practically 2 years (it really has been!) but I've been a busy person! I had a baby on January 8th of 2018, I know that was a while ago but babies can keep a person busy! Anyway, I'm back and ready to share with you one of my favorite Google Interactive projects that we completed in 5th grade last year. 
Next year I will be teaching 5th grade again, but only social studies and math, so I've been reflecting on some of the projects that we did last year to see what I loved, what I didn't love so much and how I can make these projects work with my new departmentalized schedule. 


I've always had students research on some of the most influential Spanish Conquistadors of the Age of Exploration but last year I changed it up a bit. One struggle that I always had was with the content that students would chose to put on their presentation, so last year I had pre-determined information that I wanted students to include. 
Students would include a short bio of their conquistador, where they explored, their culture, the interactions they had with the native peoples they encountered as well as their motivations for exploring. 

Students also had spots on each slide to add images or videos that would go along with each specific slide. I divided my students into groups where each student would then be responsible for researching and completing one of the slides in the Google Slides Presentation. This allowed me to not only have a group grade, but individual grades as well. 

This was a quick project that my students were able to complete and learn about 6 of the major Spanish Conquistadors of the Age of Exploration. 

Click the image below if you are interested in using this project for your class! 



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I love teaching the American Revolution. It is by far my favorite thing to teach when it comes to Social Studies. I just love to see how our country fought for their freedom. Now, even though I love to teach the American Revolution, it is not easy to teach. I have found that my kids don't know that much about the topic and that seems to slow us down. That is why I have been working hard this year to #setthestagetoengage when it comes to this topic and let me tell you there are some AMAZING things out there that helped me. 

Let me start off with how I address my students lack of schema when it comes to social studies in general. Meet the schema box. This is where I pull tons of books from our school library (which I might add we have a pretty awesome librarian who helps me) that have to do with our current social studies topic. My students can pull from this box whenever they want to. I have found that this helps my students feel more confident in social studies because they can actually make some connections about what we are learning. I have also found that if I add some books about our next topic students begin to make connections between events. 

Another helpful resource that I have for the American Revolution is the pack from Collaboration Cuties. I have been using this in my classroom as morning work for students to build schema on the topics that we will be discussing each day in social studies. The kids really love the flippables that they can use in their interactive notebook. By building schema before the lesson, we are able to dig deeper into events during our social studies block. 


We begin our unit on the French and Indian war, which leads into the Stamp Act. If you are interested in a exit slip for the French and Indian War I have one here and here. Before students can really understand the Stamp Act the have to put themselves in the shoes of a colonists. In years past I've done the lesson where one student is the king and he makes students pay taxes based off of rules he passes. This year, I found an awesome resource by Kristine Nanini and the best part of all, it was FREE. My students got so upset when they had to give up their m&m's to the king and they got even more upset when some of them had more m&m's than others when it was all over. This lesson was so much more meaningful to my students than if I would have told them how angry the colonists were. 

After this lesson, students read more about The Stamp Act, and added this event into their timeline in their social studies notebook. Then they were assigned the task to create a political cartoon depicting The Stamp Act. They loved this activity and it was a great assessment for me to see who know knew what The Stamp Act really was. 

 If you are interested the rubric used to grade this assignment you can grab it here for free! 

Up next was the Boston Massacre and this is my favorite topic to discuss during this unit. So much happened leading up to the Boston Massacre and after it was over. I wanted to do something engaging with this event so I immediately searched Pinterest. 
My search led me to a blog that I had never seen before, but quickly became one of my favorites. To Engage Them All has so many wonderful engaging activities for students. Immediately I knew that I had to do the crime scene lesson for my students. Kara has everything that you need for his lesson ready to go and guess what, its FREE! You can't go wrong with awesomely engaging free lessons for social studies. This lesson was a HUGE hit in my class. I even heard some of my students who don't usually like social studies talking about how much fun this was. 
I will have to say that this lesson was made for 8th grade students and I did make some changes to the detective guide for my 5th graders. 
I set up the crime scene before school so my kiddos had time to stew over what could have happened in our classroom. They couldn't wait for social studies to see what had happened. 

This is just the beginning of our American Revolution. Come back next week to join our tea party and midnight ride with Paul Revere. 
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